Our home is our sanctuary and it is natural to want to create an attractive space; this extends to the outside of our house as well. A nicely landscaped outdoor area is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it is good for our emotional well-being to enjoy our surroundings and to create spaces we can like spending time in. If money is a concern, here are some inexpensive landscaping ideas.
Use Native Plants
Having an abundance of plants is a great way to create a beautiful landscape. To save money, focus on using native plants. Not only will you save money by not having to buy exotic flora, you will not need to spend as much money tending to native plants—they are naturally adapted to the climate and environment as well as local pests. This means they require less water and you will not have to spend money on fertilizers, pesticides and other products to keep them in good shape. All of this is good for the environment as well as your wallet.
Watering lawns and gardens can account for up to 20 percent of total water use in some households; if you are going to maintain an attractive landscape, you are going to need water, no question about that. But, if you want to do it on the cheap, finding efficient ways to use this precious resource is an important part of the equation. Trickle irrigation is a great alternative to regular watering, which produces waste in the form of run-off and evaporation. This system is entirely underground and the water goes right where it is needed—the roots. These systems only cost about 4 to 12 cents a foot, meaning there is not a big upfront cost that you will only recoup with savings on your water bill; the project is inexpensive to begin with, which is an added bonus.
Why pay for expensive fertilizers that are really not that good for your plants anyway when you can make your own from last night’s dinner and other organic materials that will just sit in a landfill? Composting is a must for anyone on a budget who wants to create a beautiful landscape. Not only is it free, it provides the ultimate source of nutrients for your plants and helps the soil retain moisture, which cuts down on water use.
Covering everything you need to know about composting could be another whole article in itself, so I will just give you the basics here. Good materials for composting include fruits, vegetables, egg yolks, coffee grounds, hair, fur, wool rags, dryer lint, newspapers, cardboard, lawn trimmings, non-diseased plants, ground up nut shells and plain white paper. Items to keep out of the compost include fatty foods, oily foods, greasy foods, meat, fish, animal bones, colored paper, and chemically treated plants and grass. You want to create a mix that is about 80 percent carbon and 20 percent nitrogen. Carbon comes from things like newspaper and dead leaves while nitrogen is found in the foods and freshly cut grass. Compost should always be moist to the touch and slightly warm; make sure to turn the pile frequently to get oxygen to the entire pile.
Time Your Purchases
When you buy something can be a big factor when it comes to price. You can save some money by timing your purchases to coincide with products being in lower demand. If you need lumber or other building materials for your landscaping design, buying in winter can get you a better price. Buying flowers and plants late in the season is also a great way to save some money. Doing a lot of your planting in early fall , for example, can be beneficial for your plants because it will give them ample time to develop strong roots before the scorching heat of summer arrives.
This guest post was contributed by Kelli C., on behalf of APM Buildings. Kelli is a freelancer who covers a range of home improvement topics; she particularly enjoys writing about how people can be more eco-friendly without spending a lot of money.